Our last stop in Chile was Valparaiso. The city rose to prominence as a major stop on the route to California during the 1849 Gold Rush. Today it’s better known for steep hills and street art.
Located just around the bay from Valparaiso is the town of Vina del Mar. Among other things, Vina del Mar is home to a giant Flower Clock built when Vina del Mar was one of the host cities for the 1962 World Cup. for a quick look around we met up with Tours-4-Tips again.
Though the two cities seem to be growing into one, Vina del Mar is an interesting contrast to Valparaiso. While Valparaiso is very bohemian, full of street art and narrow, steep roads, Vina del Mar is much more polished and orderly.
After our tour we had a little lunch at the Sheraton Hotel on the coast where Ella took great pleasure from being in charge of scaring birds away from our table.
On the drive back from Vina del Mar we decided to stop for a little sandboarding.
Just north of Vina del Mar, in a town called Concon, is a large dune field called, not surprisingly, Dunas de Concon. The dunes are located along the coast between the water and the road. This makes for an interesting view on the top with the Pacific coast on one side and a shopping centre on the other.
After looking for a parking lot, we realized that we just needed to stop on the side of the road next to the guy with a stack of sandboards. For about a dollar we had a board and set off up the dune.
Fortunately, in a stroke of genius Katy remembered that we should bring some socks which saved our feet from the burning sand. The ratio of walking to boarding was probably 10:1 but it was still a fun way to spend an hour.
From the dunes we had a quick stop at the beach before heading back to our apartment in Valparaiso and checking out some more graffiti.
Sadly, the end of our time in Valparaiso also means the end of our trip.
On the way to the airport the next day, we did manage to fit in one last treat, with a stop at Casas del Bosque for lunch and a glass of wine.
We really enjoyed our time in Chile. So much so, that I wouldn’t be surprised if we find ourselves back again before we’ve finished visiting the rest of the world. For now, it’s back to Toronto and planning for our next destination.
When deciding how to spend the few days around Christmas during our trip, we took a cue from our trip to South Africa and booked a couple of nights in Colchagua, one of Chile’s wine regions.
When I started writing this post, I thought we had recently visited the world’s largest swimming pool at San Alfonso del Mar. It turns out this might not be entirely true…
White water rafting has always intrigued me. We had a taste while canoeing on the Belize River back in 2009. At the time, I certainly didn’t think the next time I went down a rapid (even a lowly class II) it would just be me and a three year old in the boat.
I’m a big city kid, but when we’re travelling I find that unless you have a local to show you around, despite their differences, big cities all feel like big cities. My favourite parts of our travels have always been when we are active, which makes Pucon a great place.
With Ella we’re a bit limited, i.e. we won’t be climbing to the summit of Volcan Villarrica, like those in the picture below, but there’s still some good hiking to be found.
After a few days of rain on Easter Island followed by hours of travel, it was great to arrive in Pucon and find the sun shining.
Before we arrived, Easter Island was one of those places that part of me found hard to believe was real. The images of the massive Moai are familiar to many, but to see them in person is something different.
As our third and final Santiago bike tour with La Bicicleta Verda started, we were quickly joined by our third ‘unofficial’ guide Rojo.